Apple may have managed to thwart the WireLurker Trojan targeting iOS devices, but an earlier version that used Windows malware suggests the attacks are more widespread than previously believed.

In a prepared statement sent to The Wall Street Journal, Apple said it has blocked iOS apps available in a Chinese app store that carried WireLurker, which waits for an iPhone or iPad to be activated and then steals data. The company suggested consumers only obtain iOS apps through “trusted sources” such as its own App Store.

This type of Trojan is aimed at non-jailbroken iOS devices and uses binary file replacement to automatically generate malicious iOS apps, according to a research paper from Palo Alto Networks, which first revealed the Trojan. USB sticks are used to spread the attacks, which is unusual for OS X and iOS security, the researchers said.

The Palo Alto Networks paper also reported that while the creators’ goal is not yet clear, the Trojan is capable of stealing a variety of information and can monitor any iOS device connected via USB to an infected OS X computer.

AppleInsider said hundreds of thousands of users may already have been affected by WireLurker after nearly 470 infected apps were downloaded more than 350,000 times via the China-based Maiyadi App Store.

Even before the attacks on Mac computers surfaced, a variant of WireLurker was using Windows malware, according to a story on ZDNet that quoted researchers from AlienVault Labs. The attackers advertise the Windows malware as pirated versions of popular iOS apps such as Flappy Bird, Minecraft and Facebook, and was hosted on Baidu, a public-cloud search engine in China.

This means that while Apple may have revoked the certificate as part of its enterprise provisioning feature to wipe out WireLurker, the Trojan could be easily revived and may use alternative channels to find its next victims.

A story on Tom’s Guide warned that the Trojan’s creators could easily set up a new command-and-control server or use an alternative certificate.

Besides encouraging users to avoid third-party iOS app stores and to be careful about connecting devices to untrusted Mac computers, a free online tool is available on GitHub to detect WireLurker and hopefully contain the worst of the damage.

More from

Securing Your SAP Environments: Going Beyond Access Control

Many large businesses run SAP to manage their business operations and their customer relations. Security has become an increasingly critical priority due to the ongoing digitalization of society and the new opportunities that attackers exploit to achieve a system breach. Recent attacks related to corrupt data, stealing personal information and escalating privileges for remote code execution all highlight the new and varied entry points threat actors have taken advantage of. Attackers with the appropriate skills could be able to exploit…

Who Carries the Weight of a Cyberattack?

Almost immediately after a company discovers a data breach, the finger-pointing begins. Who is to blame? Most often, it is the chief information security officer (CISO) or chief security officer (CSO) because protecting the network infrastructure is their job. Heck, it is even in their job title: they are the security officer. Security is their responsibility. But is that fair – or even right? After all, the most common sources of data breaches and other cyber incidents are situations caused…

Transitioning to Quantum-Safe Encryption

With their vast increase in computing power, quantum computers promise to revolutionize many fields. Artificial intelligence, medicine and space exploration all benefit from this technological leap — but that power is also a double-edged sword. The risk is that threat actors could abuse quantum computers to break the key cryptographic algorithms we depend upon for the safety of our digital world. This poses a threat to a wide range of critical areas. Fortunately, alternate cryptographic algorithms that are safe against…

Abuse of Privilege Enabled Long-Term DIB Organization Hack

From November 2021 through January 2022, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) responded to an advanced cyberattack on a Defense Industrial Base (DIB) organization’s enterprise network. During that time frame, advanced persistent threat (APT) adversaries used an open-source toolkit called Impacket to breach the environment and further penetrate the organization’s network. Even worse, CISA reported that multiple APT groups may have hacked into the organization’s network. Data breaches such as these are almost always the result of compromised endpoints…